By Horacio Tejera

Between 2012 and 2014, ASHTOR (Association of Spanish Speaking Seniors of Toronto), in partnership with Family Service Toronto and advised by Latin@s en Toronto, developed a comprehensive program -funded by New Horizons for Seniors- to raise awareness and knowledge on elder abuse among the Spanish-speaking community.

Previously conducted studies clearly showed the need to implement an ambitious campaign in Spanish, for two main reasons:

  • First, the abandonment, loneliness and isolation in which many seniors of Latin-American origins live. These circumstances, tied to cultural causes and unfavourable socioeconomic contexts, put the seniors at risk of abuse and/or neglect. Additionally, the feminization of poverty and discrimination based on gender, age, ethnicity or disability, have a special impact on immigrant women, and this is especially true in the Spanish-speaking  community.

  • Secondly, even though a significant percentage of seniors of Latin American origins use the internet regularly as a source of information and communication, they tend to focus on material in their own language, which use terms that they are familiar with and that describe their emotions and feelings more adequately.

Screen Shot 2016 06 21 at 11.06.07 AMIn order to overcome these challenges, ASHTOR and Latin@s en Toronto developed a toolkit of outreach materials, including a website (the first entirely devoted to elder abuse and elder rights in Spanish), bilingual calendars, brochures, banners, and presentations to be used during in-person or online workshops; as well as and "social merchandising" items such as t-shirts, mugs and magnets. 

The guiding thread running through all these materials is a set of cartoon characters specifically designed for the program with a gender and human rights perspective, to avoid 

GLOBO MadurandoSinAbusos

stereotypes and promote a positive public image of older people. These characters, their ethnicity, age, sex, gender identity and varied social positions represent the broad spectrum of Latin American seniors and the wide range of rights we are committed to promote.

Today, ASHTOR and Latin@s en Toronto plan to expand the knowledge and experience accumulated by developing new communication tools designed to learn, research and interact with Spanish speaking seniors in other parts of the country such as London, Hamilton, Vancouver, Québec and Montréal.

We look forward to sharing the next steps in this adventure with CNPEA.

For more information, contact Horacio Tejera at 



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